he following is an edited version of an e-mail message that I sent to several of my family members to fill them in on my romance with my now-wife Emelda. By reading it, you'll be getting a sort of 'inside look' at how I came to know and love my wonderful wife.
Dear family member,
Hi! This is a monumental e-mail (in my life anyway). I am about to share with you a major chunk of information having to do with my life. To be more specific, this is about my love life.
Please try to keep an open mind as you read this. What I am about to share with you is very difficult for me to share with you, so please try to be gentle with me when we discuss this later. I don't make a habit of sharing details about my romantic life with anybody (even family members), so this is not an easy thing for me to do. Please forgive me for not telling you this in person, but I just don't have the strength to do that.
..on to the story...
First, I must give you some 'backstory.' Here is an entry from my diary (from 1995)...
11-14-95 2:15 a.m.
Let me recap the last seven years of my love life: IT HAS SUCKED!!! While most of the other aspects of my life during the past seven years have improved, my heart has languished in a desert of lovelessness (ooh, how flowery). Since my last 'official' girlfriend (Megan) dropped a nuclear bomb on my heart those seven years ago, I've been trying to recover. It hasn't been easy. While I know now that Megan breaking up with me was a Godsend and that I'd never want her back, the damage done as a result of our whirlwind romance has been pervasive and long-lasting (by the way, I don't blame her entirely for the situation and I hold no ill will for Megan).
The night she broke up with me was the lowest moment in my life. If it weren't for my Southern Baptist upbringing, I would've killed myself that night. I cried myself to sleep for weeks. I gained a metric ton. I treated my friends like enemies for awhile. I was spiraling into self-destruction. I stopped going to my classes at the venerable Cuesta Community College in San Luis Obispo and drowned my sorrows in Diet Pepsi and self-pity. Woe was me!
The city of my despair!
When I finally emerged from the depths of despair, I decided that if life was going to suck so bad, I was going do what I wanted to do: run off to Hollywood to go to film school.
Now, this was no small decision. My parents weren't of the opinion that a career in the entertainment industry was an exceptionally practical idea. Since they were supporting me and paying my way through college, they effectively had the power to prevent my dream from coming true.
I'd had the dream since I starred as the Troll in The Three Billy Goats Gruff in second grade (a stage play in which I upstaged the billy goats to raucous laughter and the billy goats' dismay). Acting was my first love.
My second love was directing. This is where film school came in. After the Megan debacle, I saw an ad for Columbia College Hollywood in Rolling Stone Magazine. Since I had been dropping out of classes at Cuesta and neighboring California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo for the previous four years on a fairly regular basis, my transcripts boasted an unseemly bounty of F's. Since I knew that a smaller film school would most likely be my ticket, the ad for Columbia shone like a beacon in my pathetic life. I applied and was immediately accepted!
Now the hard part: saving money for tuition (since I was certain my parents would disown me and cut me off). I am horrible at saving money, so after taking a second job at Carl's Junior (a west coast fast-food chain) and failing to save a red cent, I decided I'd have to settle for becoming a starving actor. I plotted my quest: I would continue accepting tuition checks from my parents, but would not return to school. Dishonest? Yes. I'm not proud, but I felt my parents had forced me to pursue a career path I was uninterested in and so, I was going to get back at them. I would secretly scurry off to Hollywood without informing my parents before they could cut me off and prevent it!
My townhouse in San Luis Obispo
An ex-girlfriend named Lisa was going to let me stay with her for a month while I searched for an apartment and employment. After I had procured shelter and the basic necessities, I would recontact my parents and inform them what I was going to do with my life. I was not going to ask for their permission anymore. Those days were over. Tinseltown was where I would be reborn as my own person.
All this was as a result of Megan's breakup. I was no longer living for my parents and a significant other, I was living for myself. I assumed I would most likely end up a homeless person, but at least I would try to live my dream. I could live with trying and failing, but to never at least try would be a ticket to the funny farm for me. I would no longer be denied! Carpe diem! Seize the day!
Now, back to my love life. The point of all this backstory is that my passion for the fairer sex had brought about the lowest despair of my existence yet had also helped me regain my soul. The real Jeff was out! No more pleasing others at the expense of my own happiness! It was my time!
Unexpectedly, my parents decided that they wanted me to pursue my dream and they volunteered to pay my tuition! (Parents can really surprise you sometimes.) Our relationship flourished under the new arrangement. I paid all of my expenses and they covered the cost of Columbia College. Of course, whenever I needed money for car repairs, dental appointments, etc., they helped me out. I couldn't have earned my Bachelor's Degree without them. I owe them a lot.
Not Brad Pitt, I must admit
While I attended Columbia, my love life suffered immensely. Aside from the fact that I was severely gun-shy with women, I worked forty hours per week and went to school full-time. I had no time and no money to support an active social life. I concentrated on school and continued to dream.
Eventually, I started to want to date again. I was petrified of asking women out, not to mention that I was sixty pounds heavier that I was when I was with Megan. (I wasn't exactly Brad Pitt!) I occasionally sent flowers to women and asked them out by writing the request out on a little card. This way, I didn't have to face them! It was flawless!
Unfortunately, if you send flowers to a woman in Los Angeles, they think you're a stalker and they alert the authorities! What ever happened to chivalry? I was being romantic! No, I was a coward.
After awhile, I gave up on that method and spent several years nearly dateless! Prime dating years (21-28) flew by at an alarming rate and the dates I got were very unsatisfying. I was becoming a spinster! It was horrible!
So, I turned to the personals. I went on a half dozen or so blind dates. They were all disasters! If you're thinking of trying the personal ad section of the paper, THINK AGAIN! It just doesn't work. I never felt that 'spark' that I had felt with Megan and with previous relationships.
Okay, that's the end of the portion of the diary entry that I wish to share with you. (I can't tell you everything!)